Back home now? I do hope you had a bearable time on Xmas Day and a really nice time yesterday. Did you see Harold and Ernest? I hope you did and I’m looking forward to your letter giving me all the news.
Before I begin to answer your letters I had better give you some idea of what happened here. First of all I was getting very, very anxious by the time Xmas Eve arrived, because I’d had no mail from you since Monday and there was nothing in the afternoon delivery. So my outlook for Xmas was not too cheerful at all. I’d had a few beers with Jack in the lunch hour (12.30 to closing time!) and when there was nothing from you by 4 o’clock I set off to keep a date with Dougie at 4.30 and guess what happened? I went asleep in the train and woke up in Dagenham 20 miles away! So I didn’t see Dougie although I even went to a pantomime to try to find him, but he had left there early I learned the next day. Back I came to Turnham Green and got more beer so I finished a bit sozzled! I knew then that I would have no chance of opening my parcel before I went out on Xmas morning, so opened it after midnight. Strictly speaking it was Xmas Day! Many thanks for all the things, darling. They were lovely and I liked your idea of the pint. Yes, I did have one with you on Xmas Day. In fact it was the only one I bought on Saturday and that I got by sliding out of the office and into a bar there is in the building. But I’ll tell you that side of it later. First let me say that the things in the parcel were just what I wanted. I wore your gloves – just a little long in the fingers but they will run up a bit – on Xmas Day. And will you please tell Michael that I wore his socks on Boxing Day when I ceased being an alleged matelot for a few hours. And, finally, this letter is being brought to you by one of Wendy’s stamps. Be sure to tell the children these things, won’t you?
Now, about your letters. There was a gap right from Monday to Friday and then I got one letter. There was no post then until after 4 o’clock on Xmas Day when your cards – a masterpiece which has been duly admired by all callers and the lads down here – and an accumulation of three letters including your Xmas letter, but as I was at work I didn’t get these until Boxing Day! That meant, of course, that I didn’t get your Xmas programme until after the day was over! I was sorry about that because it was a nice thought of yours to try to help me to get a real picture of the day.
I should have made an effort to answer your letters as soon as I got them yesterday because after dinner I went asleep in the chair, full of chicken (very tasty) and several pints of beer. When I came to, some girls from Dot’s office had arrived and were deeply amused at me “driving them home”! The result was that I didn’t get a chance of writing at all. Even now I’m writing this on watch and am finding some difficulty in getting a coherent picture of the whole holiday. However, rather than attempt to sort your letters out I’ll give you some idea of what happened to us.
As I told you, I got a bit sozzled on Xmas Eve and didn’t discover until later that Dot came home from the office in much the same condition! I was glad I opened your parcel before I turned in because I had very little time to spare on Xmas morning because of the need to get out early to be sure of catching a train. All services are bad here on Xmas Day. I got down to the office feeling far from enthusiastic and got snowed under with work in the morning. Before lunchtime Jimmy Maddox insisted that Robin and I should go home with him for dinner, so we gave away our Beaver Club tickets and went off with him. Later we discovered that some relatives who had promised to turn up had let them down at the last minute! When we got there we found Jimmy’s wife and sister delighted that we could make it. The wife’s name is Vic and sister’s Marjorie. The latter was a bit blue because her husband is in North Africa, but she didn’t parade her sorrows. We had the nearest thing to a peacetime Xmas that I’ve seen. Turkey, home-made Xmas puddings with real almonds, apples, oranges, nuts, marshmallow, mince pies, sherry, port, beer etc! Doesn’t that make your mouth water? We ate so much that we couldn’t move! A very pleasant day indeed and when we got back to work at night we found things very slack and the whole building in festive mood with necking and drinking parties in every room but ours! As there was very little work to do I dodged out to the Admiralty bar and had my pint with you. That was about 8.45 and I had a picture of you giving final admonitions to a couple of excited children. Were you? I thought of you, too, about 7.30am when I was just becoming conscious and wondered if you were watching them eagerly pulling one thing after another out of their stockings. I thought, too, what a pity it was that Wendy isn’t old enough to make you a cup of tea and bring it to you on days like that. I was with you a lot during the day and I wondered if you went to bed about 10 o’clock to be ready for an early start to the following day (this before I knew you were going to Mother’s).
We finished our Xmas Day when we went off duty at 3am. On Boxing Day I got home to find your letters and cards waiting for me, but your square parcel has not arrived yet. I gave Jack and Dot their things and Dot was very surprised to get anything from you. And very pleased, too. She really liked the pinny, which I thought was lovely. Jack, too, has been nattering for a blue tie and has worn yours throughout the holiday. So with one wearing your gloves and Michael’s socks, and Jack wearing your tie, it was an old-fashioned Xmas! Jack and I went for a drink with a young couple from his office who came up to play cards later in the evening, and while I had the bank at Pontoon I wondered if you were playing, too, and hoped, if you were, that you were having better luck than I was. Anyway, I finished up on the right side by a bob!
The holiday came to an end this morning, but I was lucky not to have to turn in very early and I got up in time to make a start on this letter which is, I’m afraid, very jerky, but I can’t settle down to the writing very coherently just at the moment. I’ll write you more tomorrow when I hope to be able to answer your letters properly.
Now I must be off, love. The office is crawling with gold braid. Bye, my pet. I’ve missed you a lot. All my love to you and the children.
Ever your own,